Why I Believe the Bible 1
The Bible makes some extraordinary claims. It says it is God’s inspired word (2 Timothy 3:16), and therefore able to make us complete (v. 17). It is an unbreakable authority (John 10:34-35), the Lord’s commandments (1 Corinthians 14:37).
Does the Bible contain any evidence to substantiate such claims? Yes, it does! Here is an overview.
The Unity of Scripture
The Bible comes from considerable diversity. Its books were written over a period of about 1,500 years. Its action took place on three continents. Approximate forty men wrote the books; some were religious professionals (priests, scribes), some were civic leaders (kings, military officials), one was a doctor, yet others were from the simplest of occupations (herdsmen and fishermen). They lived in a variety of circumstances, spoke several different languages, and wrote a variety of kinds of books: law, poetry, history, narrative, biography, prophecy, personal letters, apocalyptic, etc.
Out of that diversity came a remarkable unity. The Bible has a unified theme: salvation in Jesus Christ. That theme is born, developed, and brought to fruition in the context of world history. The Bible is unified in doctrine or teaching. And despite the variety of writers, circumstances, and types of writing, the Bible has a remarkably unified style.
The Style of Scripture
Three aspects of the style of Scripture are immediately evident. One is its brevity. The entire account of creation is given in just thirty-four verses. Compare that to modern news accounts! The four accounts of the life of Jesus, its central character and unquestionably the most important person who ever lived, are a combined 179 pages in my Bible. They describe only about ten percent of His life and contain no physical description at all. Uninspired men do not write that way!
Note also the Bible’s impartiality. People and events are described in a direct, factual manner, with little “editorial comment.” Its characters’ flaws and failures are nonapologetically presented side-by-side with their virtues and successes.
The Bible is also consistently simple in its approach. It was not written by, for, or to theologians. The common people enjoyed listening to Jesus (Mark 12:37), who thanked God that the gospel was given to “babes” instead of the “wise and intelligent” (Matthew 11:25-26). The Bible’s instructions are easy enough to understand, even when they are hard to practice.
The Accuracy of Scripture
As noted earlier, the Bible accounts are presented in the context of world history. That being the case, it contains numerous references to people and events. The Bible is also full of geographical references: not just cities and towns and rivers and mountains, but local vegetation, climate, and natural resources. It also alludes to customs such as marriage or funeral practices. All these details are consistent with secular sources.
The accuracy of Scripture does not alone prove its inspiration, yet it strengthens our confidence when those details we are able to verify prove true.
We might also make a point about the ethics of Scripture, which far surpass anything of human development. They make clear, consistent distinctions between right and wrong, always demanding the former. Even the heart must be right. The vast influence of Scripture is another consideration. No writings have had such effect on so many people and so many aspects of life.
With all this said, however, we are still missing the most compelling evidence of Biblical inspiration: fulfilled prophecy. We will look at that next week.